Schools. Classrooms. Teachers. These should represent the best hope of a community. It is in these places that each student has the opportunity to change or thrive within their circumstances. It is in these places where every student has the chance to build a future. An education should not represent drudgery or the stifling of curiosity, it should not represent oppression or the mindless memorization of facts and figures. Instead, an education is about empowering each student with the skills and abilities to be successful outside of the classroom. An education is about empowering each student with knowledge and power so they can be free of ignorance and free of the oppression that can result from ignorance.
It is my belief that teachers are the in the business of facilitating freedom. Below is a brief description of how this belief becomes tangible in my classroom
Students walk into each class with different abilities, talents, skills and fears. Each of these students has the
necessary skill set to become a competent writer and a critical reader. Throughout the year each student can grow in his/her understanding of oral and written English, better preparing him/her for both higher education and the marketplace. However, students only grow if I as the teacher facilitate growth. To that end I believe in developing the following for every class and every students.
- I promote a respectful and safe atmosphere for all students to learn and grow.
- I cultivate a class culture that is comfortable asking questions that do not have a single correct answer.
- As the teacher, I am not the source of all knowledge. Students possess a remarkable amount of expertise and new ideas on a wide range of topics. In our class, students must be prepared to learn from each other.
- Students become writers by writing – every day.
- Process writing generates quality writing. The writing process cannot be separated from superb writing instruction
- The teaching of writing, not simply the assigning of writing assignments, must occur for students to further develop their writing skills.
- Student writers learn from examples. Mentor text and teacher writing are used to demonstrate new skills.
- In process essays are analyzed in large and small groups – students become writers partly by analyzing the choices of other writers
- Each student receives clear, concise feedback on several different occasions throughout the writing process
- Grammar will be emphasized in the context of writing instruction and will be relevantly evaluated in student writing.
- Students read a wide range of text including novels, plays, poetry, non fiction informative, and non fiction analysis.
- Active reading skills are emphasized through annotations, rhetorical analysis, and response papers
- With literature, students learn to apply a wide variety of critical lenses from reader response analysis to marxist, gender, post colonial, cultural and psychological criticisms
- With non fiction, students read widely on specific topics to understand the nuance and complexity in each controversy.
- Students learn to use the rhetorical triangle to explore the legitimacy and bias of text
- Large and small group discussion is a central part of the class